All praises be to Allah who ordained Shariah as a mercy and wisdom so that He tests us with regard to who among us is the best in beds. He ordered us to obey Him not because He needed it but because we stood to benefit from it. He forgives the sins of all who turn to their Lord and come closer to Him. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah who is One and has no associate for Him. He gives lavishly to the one who performs good deeds. I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and messenger. He raised him above the heaves and brought him closer to Him. May the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him, his family and noble and honest companions. And after:
I advise you and myself of having the feal of Allah. Listen -may Allah have mercy on me and you- to the statement of Bilal Bin Saad -May Allah have mercy on him-: “know that you are working in short days for long days, in a temporary abode for a permanent abode and in an abode of distress and bother for an abode of pleasure and permanence.”
Brothers in faith, a great question was asked by the greatest member of this nation from the greatest prophet, a question that is concerned with the brain of the worship. He wanted to pray to Allah through that supplication in the best physical worship! Let’s go to that hadith!
Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim narrate from Abdullah Bin Amr (May Allah be pleased with them) who Narrated from Abu Bakr as-Siddiq (RA). Abu Bakr (RA) said to Allah's Messenger (ﷺ), "Teach me a supplication to use in my prayer." He (ﷺ) said: "Say: O Allah, I have greatly wronged myself, and no one forgives sins except You, so grant me forgiveness from You and have mercy on me, You are the Forgiving and the Merciful One."
In a narration of Imam Muslim, it has appeared thus: “Teach me, O’ Allah’s messenger, a supplication to use in my prayer and in my home…”
Allah’s the greatest ... the prophet (peace be upon him) guided the siddiq (confirmer) of this nation to this great supplication. So, let’s contemplate upon its words:
“Teach me a supplication to use in my prayer” Because prayer is the greatest physical worship and the slave is the closest to his Lord in the state of prostration.
“Say: O Allah, I have greatly wronged myself”. Despite his high status, siddiq is not infallible and there’s no kinship between the Creator and the creatures. Sincere servitude and poverty are due from the slave and the pure generosity and favour are from the Lord, the Exalted and Glorious.
In this admittance, there’s poverty and humbleness for Allah and this is the essence of the servitude. This is synonymous with self-denial in front of the Great Lord in whose bounties and blessings the slave keeps revelling in. Even if the slave spends all his life in acts of obedience, he can neither repay the blessing of constant breathing while awake and asleep nor the blessing of the heart which is throbbing unstopped since his birth. So, what to speak of many other blessings!
The right of Allah is huge and the slave can’t attach recompense to it, more so with the little acts of obedience and a lot of sins that we have!
This admittance of negligence benefits the slave and raises him in the eyes of this Lord, the Exalted and Glorious.
It has appeared in the supplication: “and no one forgives sins except You”. This is the confirmation of the monotheism and attracting the forgiveness. In Islam, the relation between the slave and his Lord does not need mediators, rather humility, humbleness and imploring Lord directly unlike other religions which bow to creatures requesting for the forgiveness of their sins. All praises be to Allah for the blessing of guidance to Islam.
“And no one forgives sins except You”, this sentence contains monotheism and seeking forgiveness. These two are the mainstay of the religion. Allah has combined the monotheism and seeking forgiveness in many places. Allah, the Glorious said: (and ask forgiveness for your sinand for the believing men and believing women.) [Muhammad: 19]. Allah said in another place: ("Do not worship except Allah. Indeed, I am to you from Him a warner and a bringer of good tidings,"And [saying], "Seek forgiveness of your Lord and repent to Him.) [Hud: 2-3].
In the words of hadith “so grant me forgiveness from You”, indefinite word has been used which denotes that the objective is the great forgiveness, a forgiveness through which Allah favours His slave who is negligent and wrongs himself.
“The more the slave increases in humbleness and servitude to Allah, the more he comes closer to Allah and becomes high in His view. Among these things are repentance and seeking forgiveness.”
“So, grant me forgiveness from You and have mercy on me, You are the Forgiving and the Merciful One.” In this piece of hadith, seeking closeness to Allah with His names has been mentioned. Allah, the Exalted said: (And to Allah belong the best names, so invoke Him by them.) [Al-Aaraaf: 180]. The words “Al-Gafoor” (The Forgiving) and “Al-Raheem” (The Merciful) have been mentioned in the Holy Quran in a combined way more than seventy times. The secret behind this may be that Allah is forgiving to His slaves because He’s Merciful.
Ibn Hajar said: “This supplication is among the comprehensive ones because it combines admittance of the extreme negligence with the entreaty for the extreme favour. Forgiveness means covering the sins and erasing them, and mercy means conveyance of goodness.”
Brothers in belief, we find that this supplication has three elements of the best supplication for seeking forgiveness: monotheism, admittance to Allah of sins and asking for forgiveness.
O Allah, we have greatly wronged overselves, and no one forgives sins except You, so grant us forgiveness from You and have mercy on us, You are the Forgiving and the Merciful One.
The Second Sermon
All praises be to Allah who is the Most forgiving and the Perpetual forgiver. I bear witness that there’s no god except Allah, the One, the Prevailing. I bear witness that Muhammad is His chosen and preferred slave and messenger. May the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him, his family, his good companions, their followers and those who followed them in good deeds. And after:
Brothers in belief, repentance is not a defect, rather one of the best qualities. It’s obligatory for all creatures. It’s an end in itself and it’s the source through which perfect closeness to Allah is attained. Allah, the Exalted said: (Allah has already forgiven the Prophet and the Muhājireen and the Anṣār who followed him in the hour of difficulty after the hearts of a party of them had almost inclined [to doubt], and then He forgave them. Indeed, He was to them Kind and Merciful.) [Al-Taubah: 117]. Allah, the Exalted said: ([Itwas] so that Allah may punish the hypocrite men and hypocrite women and the men and women who associate others with Him and that Allah may accept repentance from the believing men and believing women. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.) [Al-Ahzaab: 73].
It’s through forgiveness that the prophet (blessing and peace of Allah be upon him) attained intercession on the Day of Judgement. It has been reported in Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim in the hadith of intercession: “go to Muhammad the Slave of Allah whose past and future sins were forgiven by Allah.”.
Slaves of the Merciful, Allah has informed us about the supplications containing admittance of mistakes and sins that these caused forgiveness to the supplicants who are chiefs of the mankind.
This is our father Adam (peace be upon him) and our mother Hawwa (Eve) who have been reported as saying: (They said, "Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers.) [Al-Aaraaf: 23]. And this is Yunus Bin Matta: (And he called out within the darknesses,"There is no deity except You; exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the wrongdoers. So We responded to him and saved him from the distress. And thus do We save the believers.) [Al-Anbiyaa: 87-88].
And this is about Moses (peace be upon him) before prophethood when he killed a person by mistake: (He said, "My Lord, indeed I have wronged myself, so forgive me," and He forgave him. Indeed, He is the Forgiving, the Merciful.) [Al-Qasas: 16].
You’ll find in the supplications of the best of the prophets (peace be upon them) a lot of asking for forgiveness and a lot of general and special, brief and detailed supplications for forgiveness.
Ishaq Al-Mausili says: “Admittance demolishes the perpetration of sins.” It’s confirmed in the holy Quran thus: (And [there are] others who have acknowledged their sins. They had mixed [i.e., polluted] a righteous deed with another that was bad.Perhaps Allah will turn to them in forgiveness. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.) [Al-Taubah: 102].
To conclude: Try to be regular with this supplication which the prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) taught Abu Bakr in your prayers and make it among the supplications you invoke.
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